- “C” – 5
Obviously you start with 3 on the pitch, plus a minimum of one prop and one hooker. Teams are obliged to inform the Match Official where their FR replacements can play, so, if you are told there are at least 2 FR replacements, you should have at least one extra hooker and one extra prop. (See Law 3.8)
- “C” – Stop the game, restart with a scrum. I would argue that the scrum should be where the ball was kicked, the kicking team to put in. (You could argue that it should be the non-kicking team below where the ball struck the branch)
This is a tricky one but the starting point is Law 6.9(f): The ball becomes dead if it hits anything over the playing area. Therefore, you cannot play on and any action after the branch has been hit, unless foul play, is immaterial. As the ball is dead you have to restart the game with a scrum (A lineout option does not exist as the ball has never left the field of play).
Law 19.1 lists the various scenarios for scrums and among these is “The referee awards a scrum for any other reason not covered in law” which is the closest definition to this scenario. The scrum is taken at the closest point to the place of stoppage. You could argue that this was below where the branch was struck, and that the non kicking team should have the put in for not causing the ball to be deadI feel it would be more credible to restart at the place of the kick (similar to a kick through the in goal) with the kicking team retaining possession as they have attempted to play the ball positively, but have been impeded by circumstances beyond their control and should not thus be penalised for this. Answers on a Postcard!
- “C” Penalise for deliberate knock on
The tackler was entitled to play the ball as he had gotten back to his feet and no ruck had formed therefore he is not offside. However, Law 11.4 makes it clear that an attempt to catch the ball must be made to avoid the action being seen as a deliberate knock on
Law 17.1 is clear that the ball must have reached the plane of the 22m line before being caught for a mark. In this scenario, the catcher is deemed to have taken the ball back into the 22
- “C” – Penalise for offside
Law 19.29 is clear: Once play in the scrum begins, the scrum-half of the team in possession has at least one foot level with or behind the ball.